Find everything you need to know to successfully save and store tender bulbs, corms and tubers.
Most gladiolus (Gladiolus spp. and hybrids) only survive winter in USDA zones 8 to 10. Replacing them annually can get expensive if you live in zones where these plants don’t survive the winter. Click through the slideshow below for a saving and storage how-to, and you can successfully keep your favorite gladiolus for next season!
Use a garden fork, rather than a shovel, to lessen the chance of damaging the corm. Dig up the corms 6 to 8 weeks after the gladiolus flowers, or when the foliage turns yellow.
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Brush off as much excess soil as possible, then cut the stem off 1 to 2 in. above the corm, leaving the remainder on to dry while curing.
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Cure the corms
Cure corms for two to three weeks on a screen in a well-ventilated area at 60 to 70 degrees F. A screen made of ½-in. hardware cloth tacked to an old window frame like this one provides good air movement during the curing stage.
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You’ll see cormels, or corms that aren’t mature yet, developing at the bottom of the corm (at left). Gently separate the two and plant them in another part of the yard to grow on, though it will be a few years before cormels bloom.
New corms form on the original corm planted in the spring. Peel the old shriveled one off the bottom and discard it, saving the new one for next year (at right).
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Pack them up
Mesh bags allow air to flow and keep corms dry. Take apart an old mesh shower scrubber, and you’ll have a long tube you can cut up. Knot each end of a section to keep all the same cultivars together. You can even color code the bags, if you’d like!
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Tuck them away
Keeping tender bulbs cool and in darkness is important to maintain dormancy. On a shelf in a chilly basement or garage is a good place to store tender bulbs for the winter.
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